India Tries to Stop G20 Calling Ukraine War ‘War’: Reports

  • India does not want the G20 to label Russia’s invasion of Ukraine a “war,” per Reuters.
  • Its officials tried to convince members to call it a “crisis,” but they were met with pushback.
  • India’s stance mirrors that of Russia, which insists that the war be called a “special military operation.”

India is trying to stop G20 countries describing the war started by Russia in Ukraine as a “war,” even as the conflict enters its second year, reports say.

During the group’s negotiations on a joint communique on Wednesday, India tried to convince G20 members to call the war a “crisis” or a “challenge,” both Reuters and Bloomberg reported.

Reuters cited delegates from at least seven G20 countries for its report, while Bloomberg cited an additional person familiar with the matter. None of the sources are named.

Reuters said Indian delegates tried to push for a consensus, but were unsuccessful. The meetings continued in Bengaluru on Thursday.

India’s reluctance to use the word “war” is in line with the Kremlin’s own preferences. It also weakened the Russian term, preferring to call it a “special military operation,” a phrase used by Vladimir Putin when announcing the invasion.

(He sometimes ignores his own rule and uses the word “war,” but the euphemism continues to be widespread in the official Russian media.)

Russia is a member of the G20 and sends a delegation to the meetings. It was to send representatives of the finance minister and central bank chief instead of the officials themselves, Reuters said.

China also refuses to call the war a “war,” instead calling it a “crisis,” per Bloomberg.

Although India has not openly sided with Russia, it has continued to support the country’s economy by refusing to impose sanctions and scoop up Russian oil and natural gas imports.

India’s imports of Russian oil hit a record high of 1.4 million barrels per day in January, Reuters reported, citing data from trade sources.

“India does not want to discuss or reinstate any additional sanctions on Russia during the G20,” an Indian official told Reuters. “The existing sanctions on Russia have a negative impact on the world.”

The collective hesitation of the G20 on whether the war should be called a war is a significant step back from its position in November 2022. After a meeting last year hosted by Indonesia , the group released an official declaration calling the conflict a war.

“Most members strongly condemn the war in Ukraine,” the declaration on November 16 read. However, the declaration said that some member countries have “other views and different assessments of the situation and sanctions.”

The Bengaluru meeting is the first milestone of India’s year-long G20 presidency. It coincides with the first anniversary of the war, which began on February 24, 2022.

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